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What went right for Celtic?

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After a performance like that, the most important question is, what went right? The most important aspect of the game, was the clean sheet. Dorus de Vries was only called upon to make one save, on the 14th minute, but it was by far the best chance of the game and the keeper did exactly what was required.

The regularity with which the ball left Dorus’ feet and landed on Moussa Dembele’s chest will also have occurred to you. This was the best we have played out from the back all season.

As the game progressed I was getting anxious about how long is left on Kris Ajer’s contract. He’s still a teenager, but what a player! We waited 40 years for a young tier one defender to emerge and then two come along at the same time.

Brendan changed the format, went with a back three, dropped Sinclair, his top scorer and flooded the middle of the park, which allowed Celtic to control the game. Think how many times you saw Callum McGregor in possession and being huckled by one or more opponents, but having an option of a short and easy pass. Contrast this with the complete lack of options we had on the ball at Rugby Park, or even last weekend against Partick.

Olivier Ntcham had his best game for Celtic and was my Man of the Match. He is unrecognisable from the player who arrived from Manchester City in the summer.

Dropping Scott Sinclair from such an important game was a huge managerial decision. Scott was everyone’s Player of the Year last season and a big money deal for Celtic. So far, so ballsy, from Brendan Rodgers, but he opted to give the spare slot to Eboue Kouassi, who has left his teens since Zenit played their last league game, and who many had written off as recently as Christmas.

The flicker of whatever the scouts saw in the 10 or so career games Eboue played before Celtic parted with £3m for him came into full bloom last night. His tenacity, speed and composure on the ball was arresting.

James Forrest sits in pole position for this season’s Player of the Year. Few defenders can cope with his pace and Zenit’s were no different. Despite his positive influence last night, less of our play goes through him than I would like. Due to the peerless Tierney, we have a left-side bias.

Within two minutes it was clear Moussa was on better form than he has been in months (which gives us another issue to ponder). He did not get on the score sheet, but he was an effective out ball, brought others into the game, and played his part on the goal. His late replacement, Odsonne Edouard, looked every inch the €10m player PSG value him as.

And what about the goal. Charly Musonda’s slight frame has looked a tad fragile since arriving on loan last month, but last night was a lightbulb moment. We got to see what all the fuss is about with this young player.

The chance was created near the halfway line, when he drew three Zenit players towards him before igniting the move with a disguised slip to Ntcham. Seconds later, Charly was inside the box to collect a difficult bouncing ball from Dembele and hung it in the air for Callum McGregor. This run was a lung-buster.

Callum had to leap to catch the ball at the top of his chest. With no time to allow it to settle, he needed to position himself for a snapshot. McGregor took the plaudits for his goal, but this was a worthy accolade for a player who was involved throughout but struggled in recent months to find his early season form.

On another day, we would not have got the win we deserved. On another day, we would have lost a goal to Zenit’s only chance, but last night Celtic had all the answers. It was a fantastic performance from every player. We have a squad and a system which is capable and worthy of winning a second consecutive treble, and reaching deeper into the Europa League. And in case it slipped your mind, Gordon, Compper, Hendry, Boyata, Bitton, Ralston, Miller, Armstrong, Rogic, Sinclair, Roberts, Hayes and Griffiths were all missing last night.

We’ll talk about EBT McLeish another time. I’m not letting missing governance standards at the SFA darken my mood.

And Peter, get Kris tied up.

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  1. Seems that Saint Dominic has lost his Sainthood according to report on school meals from BBC Scotland :O(

     

     

    DOMINICSPRIMARYYABASS

  2. VP it was probably that pesky Episcopalian Ninian that took Dominics St. Either him or Simon Templar. Hh

  3. Noticed that too VP and G64 – a minor error or more likely a deliberate act by whoever doe the signage!!

     

     

    HH

  4. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    That scene with Strong Rangers McRae was absolutely embarrassing. Looks like something from Only An Excuse (back when it was good). Bumbling idiot.

  5. ScullyBhoy, I’d said to my Son I’d play Ntcham where Callum plays before the game.

     

     

    What do I know. :))

     

     

    His Granda doesn’t rate him much..but was obviously delighted to see how much he contributed to the Celtic team against Zenit.

     

     

    I’m hoping for some rested players on Sunday.

  6. Mr Z, any comment from Poland on the Celtic performance? I liked your Russki report that you posted earlier, especially the bit that mentioned Zenit team going home via Italy.

     

     

    As Sherlock was want to say “the games afoot”.

     

     

    Mibbe that’s where Kevj got his departing message. Hmmm…

  7. Not withstanding our belief that that SFA is a corrupt organisation our club custodians need to seriously distance itself from it on the grounds that it is completely inept and incompetent. Hh

  8. Gordon64 on 16th February 2018 11:13 pm

     

     

    Not withstanding our belief that that SFA is a corrupt organisation our club custodians need to seriously distance itself from it on the grounds that it is completely inept and incompetent. Hh

     

     

    ………………………………………………………………

     

     

    The Supporters need to…. – they were killed a few years ago.

     

     

    There is Masonic influence in EVERY Board of Scottish Fitba.

     

     

    Just Njoi the Almighty giving Joy to the Just in Scotland.

     

     

    CELTIC is GOOD.

  9. petec on 16th February 2018 11:02 pm

     

     

    ScullyBhoy, I’d said to my Son I’d play Ntcham where Callum plays before the game.

     

     

    What do I know. :))

     

     

    His Granda doesn’t rate him much..but was obviously delighted to see how much he contributed to the Celtic team against Zenit.

     

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

     

     

    Just re-watched the game and noticed how Callum makes some telling interventions AFTER he has scored – fabulous player.

  10. The Ragers have rejected a world record fourth bid of £9 million for Morelos however they are under no financial pressure to sell the player and harm their ambitions to finish third in the SPL. Just as well that Ragers have secured a never before heard of banking facilty/deal/loan/overdraft to keep the lights on until next season’s ST money comes in. Only in a corrupt country would this financial nonsense be tolerated.

  11. We witnessed one of Celtics great european goals last night. It was a work of art from start to finish. Hh

  12. Gordon64 on 16th February 2018 11:35 pm

     

     

    The Ragers have rejected a world record fourth bid of £9 million for Morelos however they are under no financial pressure to sell the player and harm their ambitions to finish third in the SPL. Just as well that Ragers have secured a never before heard of banking facilty/deal/loan/overdraft to keep the lights on until next season’s ST money comes in. Only in a corrupt country would this financial nonsense be tolerated.

     

     

     

    ………………………………………….

     

     

    Dinnae anger the Almighty.

     

     

    He can make them Win easily – playing Fitba we could only Dream of.

     

     

    Jobo is WISE.

  13. Celticrollercoaster supporting @WalkWithShay on

    Good very late evening fholks

     

     

    Wanted to share my facebook post with you CQN, my extended family, as I had the privilege and time to take Celtic Rose around her medicine interviews over the last couple of months with the various universities.

     

     

    Well the first one has declared!

     

     

    “Sensational day today. Yep Friday’s defo the best. Caitlyn gets an offer from Edinburgh University for medicine. Just waiting for Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee to declare #proudparents #cleverghirl #didwestealher”

     

     

     

    Ok, there is the small(?) issue of making the necessary additional grades in 6th year, but what an opportunity for her.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    CRC

  14. Re £9M bid for Morelos

     

    It’s the type of reporting that would make news agencies in North Korea blush. It’s also the type of reporting that played a part in the demise of the original Rangers. History repeating ?

     

     

    HH

  15. What is the Stars on

    Gordon

     

    It was a great goal.What about Charly?

     

    He gets the ball surrounded by Russians. Doesnt panic,keeps it keeps it ,thinks about trying one thing then thinks another before he spots a pass and then boom off he goes.

     

    Brendan Rodgers Musonda known he was too small and light weight for Scottish football

  16. CRC- excellent stuff for Caitlyn. World at her feet and her maw and paw anaw! :-)

     

     

    My bhoy wants to leave in 5th year, interview with Kelvin College next week before his 16th birthday. Just wants to be a Civil Engineer and earn.

     

     

    Anyone with any experience of aforementioned would love to hear your views.

  17. Celticrollercoaster supporting @WalkWithShay on

    AoW

     

     

    Thank you and good luck with your laddie. I am sure he will make the right decision with your guidance,

     

     

    Petec-thank u very much. Hope you are well and looking after young Aidan?

     

     

    HH

     

     

    CRC

  18. A football player is forced to leave Scotland due to the racist abuse from his own fans. An utterly appalling indictment of 21st Century Scotland. I’m now waiting for the Scottish government to convene a football summit to address the issue of racism in Scottish football but I won’t hold my breath. Especially when former jUstice minister Kenny McAskill , a Tartan army foot soldier who got jailed in London for over exuberance, thoroughly enjoyed the blatantly racist ditties from the Old co supporters at Hampden. Hh

  19. Wee Aidan is looking efter me. He disnae wannae go on the Scottish Slopes.

     

     

    MARCH 17TH we head over for the skiing with the Crew in Frnace via Switzerland.

     

     

    I cannae wait.

     

     

    The Pub/Restaurant @ Top of the mountain definitely has Vodka. Not many have asked for it. :))

  20. Marc, (following Petec) if she has anything like your drive and commitment she will be a huge success. Please post updates as I will pray for her successes. Tell your missus she done not too bad either. :-)

  21. Willie Miller on Scottish Teatime News was just Brilliant!!

     

    “Wrong appointment, sfa will never change, the only people that can make change is themselves, and the are never goin to give up on the benefits they enjoy….”

     

    Gawd, do we need people like him right now.

  22. The SFA is not fit for purpose. To continue with the charade that this clusterf#ck of an organisation has the remotest clue what it is doing is an insult to every Celtic supporter. Sack the SFA. Hh

  23. G64,

     

     

    Imagine the SFA being Humble?

     

     

    Giving up positions.

     

     

    A lot of Cash.

     

     

    No, Neither do I.

     

     

    Greater Good?

     

     

    SFA aye

  24. CRC

     

     

    Congratulations!

     

     

    I think the only thing better than accomplishing something great is seeing our children do it. You must be over the moon.

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